Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cooperation is Natural

Earlier this week the NY Times published an article "We May Be Born With an Urge to Help". The article is based on Michael Tomesello's book Why We Cooperate which argues that children display helpful behavior prior to any parental training to prime such behavior. Moreover, Tomesello finds that this desire to help is not enhanced by rewards. This would seem to be a signpost towards nature of man. Is man inherently good, evil, or both? This presents an interesting theological question (which they do not come close to answering I think).

I had to give some thought to it before I felt like I really understood what was at play in the cooperation and helpfulness: TRUST.

What we believe about other people is enormously important. Children will trust another adult, even if that adult is not their parent, but, a stranger. Children have faith in other people. Because they have not experienced a deterioration in trust or faith in others they do not act strategically in how they help others. Instead, they just recognize a need and act in a helpful way.

I think this provides some insight into the verse, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven" -Matthew 18:3

What holds us back from helping? Lack of trust? Judging Attitudes? Fear of being rejected?

1 comment:

Paul Chambers said...

Theologically, what is holding us back?
Passages such as Matthew 25:31-45 seem to be forgotten since I think many Christians are more comfortable with the legalistic teachings of Paul and are less comfortable with the teachings of love of Jesus.